Reflection: Do you love me? – Canon Robert Vun

Weekly Reflections

Weekly Reflection (12 October 2020)

Good morning. How have you been? I am delighted to share this Monday Reflection with you again. Another week had gone by since we last met here and time flies by so quickly. I tend to agree with those who say that that as we grow older, time passes by faster.

If you have not done so last week, do go outdoors to appreciate the God’s beautiful spring time creation. And as you do so, you may also start thanking God for all the beautiful and wonderful things He made for us to enjoy. When you go out, please take the proper precautions.

I pray that you have been a good of steward of your own health. It is important to keep ourselves healthy and safe so that we can be used by God as His blessing to others.

Today, I hope to share with you about how God called me into the ministry. How He wonderfully open up doors for me and how He guided me through. My hope is that you may be encouraged to reflect on how God’s hand has led and protected you in your life making you who you are for Him today.

Before my sharing, I like to read you a poem that I recently come across. It is called “My Grandmother.”

My grandmother once gave me a tip:
In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
You see?
You are advancing step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Praise yourself.
Take another step.
Then another.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.[i]

Let us pray:

Gracious God, thank You for the gift of today.
Refresh us, and assist us to discover Your presence
In each person that we meet and every event encountered.
Teach us when to speak and when to listen;
When to ponder and when to share.
In moments of challenge and decision
Attune our hearts to the whispering of Your wisdom.
As we undertake ordinary and unnoticed tasks,
Gift us with Your joy.
When the day goes well, may we rejoice!
When it grows difficult, surprise us with new possibilities.
When life is overwhelming, call us to Sabbath moments
To restore Your peace and harmony in us.
May our actions today reveal Your goodness
May our words embodied Your encouragement
And may our life Your blessings to each and all we meet. Amen.[ii]

Prayer of the Week

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Almighty God, in your wisdom you have so ordered our earthly life that we must walk by faith and not by sight: give us such trust in your fatherly care that in the face of all perplexities we may give proof of our faith by the courage of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This morning, our Bible Reading is taken from the book of John 21:1-17.

Bible Reading

After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter *said to them, “I am going fishing.” They *said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus *said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved *said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. So when they got out on the land, they *saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10 Jesus *said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus *said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus *came and *took the bread and *gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. 15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.

Devotion  

Do you love me?

It was a windless and still night. There was a deafening silence in the room. My eyes were closed. I can distinctly hear the voice, “Robert do you love me?”.

It was the mid-seventies, I was studying for my Victorian Matriculation in our nation’s capital 1,625 kilometres away from home. God found me and brought me back to Him. How he gave me a Church with a good Student Fellowship to renew and rebuild my spiritual life.

That night, the voice was unmistakable. It was clear as crystal and I have to answer the question asked of me.
I replied, “Yes, Lord you know I love you.” He said, ‘Feed my lambs.”
Again, he said, “Robert do you love me?”
Again, I answered, “Yes, Lord you know I love you.” He said, ‘Take care of my lambs.”
Now I am sweating… The question was asked for the third time, “Robert do you love me?”
I answered, “Yes, Lord you know I love you.” He said, ‘Feed my lambs.”

A few of us male students of various colleges had rented a room to stay together. Every night the four of us who are Christians gathered together to pray before we tuck into our beds. It was during one of these nightly prayer meetings that God spoke to me.

I immediately knew that God had called me into the ministry. This is no small matter in those days in my culture. Being called into the ministry means a life-long commitment of full-time ministry. Being a priest was not looked upon as a desirable profession by any means. This was because clergymen were poorly paid and usually not well treated.

I was confused. My parents had sent me there to study. Their intention was for me to go abroad for my tertiary studies – in order to get a good job to support them in their old age. This was because my eldest brother is a civil servant, my second brother had already gone into theological studies. Being the youngest son, I was their last chance of getting a decent lifestyle in their old age. I was sure they would not take the news of God calling me kindly.

In the following weeks, I argued with God saying that He did not have to call me because my father was already a Lay Reader, my oldest brother was actively involved in the Church and my second brother is already an Ordination Candidate. God did not answer my suggestions to Him.

I consulted the leaders of my Fellowship and they asked me to wait and test whether the calling was for real. If it gets stronger, then I will need to obey it.

The months roll by and the yearning, the burden and the urge in my heart grew. Everyday in my 40-minute bus ride to and from College, I would see the passengers in their meaningless and hopeless existence without God. My heart would ache for their salvation and I would pray for them to be saved. A question often comes back to disturb my comfort zone. “Who will tell them the good news of salvation?” If God has asked me to go, and I refuse, who then should go?”

I was a nobody when God saved me. I was a nobody when I was lost, yet he searched me out and found me and brought me back. Now, I am still a nobody – yet he called me into the ministry. Oh, the richest and greatness of his grace. How wonderful, how marvellous that this grace reaches even me. God’s grace is also thus manifested in your life. You can find it if you look for it.

The Morning Collect

Eternal God and Father, by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to your service, and live this day in love to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.[iii]

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you my life story. As you see God’s grace in your life, give thanks to him. Praise Him and bless Him. As you do that, you will find your communion with him will grow ever sweeter. Till next Monday, rejoice often. Do good. Love outrageously. Enjoy life. Praise God. God bless you and be His blessings to


[i] Elena Mikhalkova

[ii] John Baillie, Fourth Day: Morning “A Diary of Private Prayer” , Oxford University Press 1968. p.21

[iii] Numbers 6.24–26

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